Universal Brotherhood – January 1899

GODS, HEROES AND MEN — Amos J. Johnson

According to Theosophy every man is a God incarnate. In his real nature, each man is a spark from the Divine Flame, which descends from the Infinite Fountain of Life and courses through Eternity on a pilgrimage, the purpose of which we can but faintly conceive.

Great mystics have said that "the universe exists for the sake of the soul's experience," and that the purpose of life is that the soul may reach perfection. The term embraces infinity, perfect virtue, wisdom, power, perfect altruism. Each department of Nature must be carried on to a full completeness and the soul may not rest content with achieving merely its own perfection, but must labor for the perfection of the great Whole.

Reaching from the One White Light of Absolute Being down to the tiniest atom of matter, each plane of existence is governed by Divine Intelligences. All one can say is that after reaching to the highest conception possible to us of the Divine Intelligences that rise above us and to the highest knowledge attainable of the Divine Worlds, still stretching far beyond the highest, beyond the utmost reach of human thought, there exists: What? "An omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable Principle, on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and can only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the reach and power of thought, unthinkable and unspeakable."

This is the postulate of sublime and everlasting Deity. As far as we may go in endless Eternity, yet above and beyond all there reigneth absolute Law.

Recognizing then, that the great unknowable Deity is beyond our ken, our study must be confined to the lesser Deities, though some of these seem unknowable; but we may partially learn the relation they bear to men.

All the great religions present a series of divine Presences, and generally a triune Godhead stands as the primal object of all adoration. The Hebrew Bible trace three Deities, the highest of these being the Most High God, supreme ruler over all, and synonymous with Law; the second Deity is God, the Elohim, a great hierarchy, or rather a series of hierarchies of Gods, who formed the earth and filled it with living creatures and endowed man with his human nature; while the third in rank among the ancient Hebrews was Jehovah, who stands as their tribal Deity. The distinction between the Most High God and Jehovah is clearty shown in Deuteronomy (32: 8-9), where it says: "When the Most High divided the nations, their inheritance, when He separated the Sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people. . . . .The Lord's [Jehovah's] portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance."

The New Testament also gives a triple Godhead in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Among the Brahmins, Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Siva the Destroyer; with the Greeks it was Uranos, Kronos and Zeus; and with the Egyptians, Osiris, Isis and Horus. These were not necessarily the most powerful Gods in the Pantheon, but those most popularly known. The Hindus, for instance, are said to call their chief Deity, Zyaus — which bears a close resemblance to the Greek Zeus; and the Egyptians called their Unknown God, Amen or Ammon. All religions tell also of lesser divinities, as archangels and angels.

Theosophy, the Wisdom Religion, shows the three Logoi which have proceeded from the Unknowable Principle; these Logoi are respectively the First Cause, the Spirit of the Universe, and the Universal World-Soul. From the Manifested Logos, the Universal Over-soul, spring hundreds of classes of divine beings, and these in their turn are the progenitors of the lower classes of beings. From God down to the lowest mineral monad, there is a direct chain of heredity, binding all of existence into one great universal whole. Humanity is the child of the Gods and traces its heredity through all the divine hierarchies to the Unknowable Root of all.

The traditions of all old nations tell of a Golden Age when Gods and Demigods lived among men. Greek mythology gives the following account of the formation of the Earth and heavens: "Before earth and sea and heaven were created, all things wore one aspect, to which we give the name Chaos — a confused and shapeless mass, in which, however, slumbered the seeds of things. Earth, sea and air were all mixed up together; so the earth was not solid, the sea was not fluid, and the air was not transparent. God and Nature at last interposed and put an end to this discord, separating earth from sea, and heaven from both. Then one of the Gods gave His services in arranging the Earth. The air being cleared, the stars began to appear, fishes took possession of the sea, birds of the air and beasts of the land. But a nobler race was wanted, and Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus made man in the image of the Gods. Then Prometheus went to heaven and lit his torch at the chariot of the Sun, and brought down fire to man. He taught him to make weapons to subdue the animals, tools to cultivate the ground, and introduced arts and commerce."

The "fire" which Prometheus brought, refers not to a physical flame, but to "mind." Prometheus stands for the hierarchy which endowed physical man with his mental faculties, and it is related that when mankind was supplied with the "divine fire" the Gods became jealous of the new race, and in revenge they chained Prometheus to a rock where a vulture feasted on his liver, which was renewed as fast as devoured. He thus stands forth as the first Saviour of humanity, and his sufferings represent the first crucifixion.

Mythology is written in glyph and symbol, but if one stops to analyze these mystic tales, volumes may be found hidden beneath the outer husk. Perhaps it was not revenge — but Law — which caused Prometheus to be chained to the rock. He assumed the task of raising man to Godhood and incarnated in the animal form that the lower entity might be better aided. Thus the rock to which he was chained becomes humanity itself, and the vulture represents the desires and passions of the lower man.

Humanity has always had divine Teachers. Schools of Magi or Wise Ones were established on the old Lemurian continent, and were open to all who were worthy. These schools or temples were known to the public down to a period as late as 2000 years ago, when they closed to the world at large. But the light has been kept burning in hidden places even to the present day. The Great Lodge has maintained a continuous existence ever since its establishment millions of years ago, and it is from this Lodge that all the great Teachers of the world have come — Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and all others. A recent Messenger from the Lodge was H. P. Blavatsky, who founded the Theosophical Society and Universal Brotherhood. Through this channel the archaic teachings are again being presented to the world at large. All who desire to learn the mysteries of life, all who desire to advance along the Path which leads from manhood to Godhood are welcome to the archaic wisdom.

If the applicant for divine knowledge will purify his nature and be brotherly to his neighbor, then he may gain the greatest profit by a study of Theosophy, for then its teachings will be illuminated by a greater light than intellect itself can ever shed. The true men of to-day are those who are able to subdue their lower nature and make it obedient to the behests of the spiritual man. It is a heavy task, but in the end will lead to a higher life.

The course of training at first is very simple, being concerned with the commonest of daily duties. If one is irritable, quick-tempered, censorious, lazy, selfish or unjust, his first steps upon the Path will consist in correcting these faults. One must make a persistent struggle to become industrious, self-controlled and sweet tempered, and not until these qualities are developed need one be anxious for anything beyond. If one fails in some respects or in all respects he need not be discouraged, but should try again, and keep on trying until he does succeed.

The evolution from man to Hero or Seer, and from Seer to Perfection can not take place in a single life, for one life is not sufficient to furnish either time or environment for the many lines of development that are required. Before the man can become one of the company of the great Helpers of Humanity, he must be purged of every weakness and defilement. He does not need Their learning, but he must have Their purity.

Universal Brotherhood